Measuring fast-temporal sediment fluxes with an analogue acoustic sensor: a wind tunnel study

A. Poortinga, J. van Minnen, J.G.S. Keijsers, M.J.P.M. Riksen, D. Goossens, K.M. Seeger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In aeolian research, field measurements are important for studying complex wind-driven processes for land management evaluation and model validation. Consequently, there have been many devices developed, tested, and applied to investigate a range of aeolian-based phenomena. However, determining the most effective application and data analysis techniques is widely debated in the literature. Here we investigate the effectiveness of two different sediment traps (the BEST trap and the MWAC catcher) in measuring vertical sediment flux. The study was performed in a wind tunnel with sediment fluxes characterized using saltiphones. Contrary to most studies, we used the analogue output of five saltiphones mounted on top of each other to determine the total kinetic energy, which was then used to calculate aeolian sediment budgets. Absolute sediment losses during the experiments were determined using a balance located beneath the test tray. Test runs were conducted with different sand sizes and at different wind speeds. The efficiency of the two traps did not vary with the wind speed or sediment size but was affected by both the experimental setup (position of the lowest trap above the surface and number of traps in the saltation layer) and the technique used to calculate the sediment flux. Despite this, good agreement was found between sediment losses calculated from the saltiphone and those measured using the balance. The results of this study provide a framework for measuring sediment fluxes at small time resolution (seconds to milliseconds) in the field.
In aeolian research, field measurements are important for studying complex wind-driven processes for land management evaluation and model validation. Consequently, there have been many devices developed, tested, and applied to investigate a range of aeolian-based phenomena. However, determining the most effective application and data analysis techniques is widely debated in the literature. Here we investigate the effectiveness of two different sediment traps (the BEST trap and the MWAC catcher) in measuring vertical sediment flux. The study was performed in a wind tunnel with sediment fluxes characterized using saltiphones. Contrary to most studies, we used the analogue output of five saltiphones mounted on top of each other to determine the total kinetic energy, which was then used to calculate aeolian sediment budgets. Absolute sediment losses during the experiments were determined using a balance located beneath the test tray. Test runs were conducted with different sand sizes and at different wind speeds. The efficiency of the two traps did not vary with the wind speed or sediment size but was affected by both the experimental setup (position of the lowest trap above the surface and number of traps in the saltation layer) and the technique used to calculate the sediment flux. Despite this, good agreement was found between sediment losses calculated from the saltiphone and those measured using the balance. The results of this study provide a framework for measuring sediment fluxes at small time resolution (seconds to milliseconds) in the field.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere74007
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • aeolian processes
  • sediment
  • wind tunnels
  • measurement techniques
  • inland drift-sand
  • aeolian transport
  • erosion
  • velocity
  • cloud
  • soil
  • validation
  • efficiency
  • intensity
  • saltation

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